17 Best Free Stock Photo Websites For Web Designers

August 24, 2017 | by Marsha Lewis

The Difficulties of Finding Free Stock Photos

Finding websites with stock photos that are actually free sucks. Add in quality and the challenge gets even harder.

What are “royalty free” stock photos?

Royalty free is a type of license used by stock photography agencies to sell stock images. Once you have purchased the license with a flat, one-time fee, you are granted a determined set of rights to use the image in multiple ways.

Fro example, you could use an image in a print ad campaign, social media post, on your website, and web banner ads, without having to pay each time you used the image.

The reason for this is simple. When you are working with stock photos, you are acquiring the right to use the photo in a certain way. You do not, however acquire the property of the photo itself.

An rundown of our choices:

  1. Unsplash
  2. Gratisography
  3. Picography
  4. Death to the Stock Photo
  5. Pixabay
  6. Kaboom Pics
  7. Jay Mantri
  8. New Old Stock
  9. IM Free
  10. Picjumbo
  11. FoodiesFeed
  12. Little Visuals
  13. Life of Pix
  14. Skitterphoto
  15. MMT Stock
  16. Stocksnap
  17. SplitShire

The Importance of High Resolution Photos for Web Designers

As a web designer, you need to use quality images so you look like you actually know what you’re doing.

Kidding.

Well, sort of.

In all seriousness, images are a heavily used marketing tool, and for good reason.

Whether you are offering a service or selling a product, images help illustrate your message.

A high resolution image can display your product or service at its height of potential.

Images can be used to educate your audience. A high caliber image can clarify an issue without any words needed. Remember, as a web designer, you want to be a problem solver for a user.

Free stock photos are a great way to ensure quality, with out paying a lot to get your message across.

Where can I find the highest quality free stock photos for my web design?

Here is a list of our top 17 favorite sites for use for quality free stock photos.

1. Unsplash

Unsplash best stock photos for web design

Unsplash is our personal favorite for free high resolution, and high quality stock photos.

They release 10 new photos, every ten days and have over 25,000 contributing photographers.

It generates an estimated 1 billion photo impressions a month.

Every photo published on Unsplash is licensed under Creative Commons Zero, which means users may copy, modify, distribute, and use the images without permissions or attribution.

Free? Yes

Best For? Anything and everything

Visit Website

 

2. Gratisography

Gratisography best stock photos for web design

This is another website that provides photos covered under the Creative Commons Zero license.

All of the high resolution images are taken by photographer, Ryan McGuire.

Some of these pictures are the things of which nightmares are made.

If you are looking for quirky, unique images, (or want to scare the shit our of a small child) this is the site for you.

New pictures are added weekly.

Free? Yes

Best For? Quirky, not your average photos

Visit Website

 

3. Picography

Picography best stock photos for web design

Small, but mighty.

The site contains visually pleasing free stock photos, taken by Dave Meier and other photographers.

Their saying; “Free images to use however you like” pretty much sums up how the website works.

They also offer premium collections available for purchasing.

Free? Yes, but there is a premium option available.

 Best For? Objects and scenic locations.

Visit Website

4. Death to the Stock Photo

death to stock best stock photos for web design

Simply, enter your email and Death to the Stock Photo will send you a pack of 10 photos within a certain category.

The theme range from a simple object such as “fruit”, to a conceptual idea like “wild imagination.”

Free? Yes, but there is a premium option for either $15 per month or $145 per year. And they give scholarships for nonprofits and social enterprises.

Best For? Inspiration haven for social media, blogs, and mockups

Visit Website

5. Pixabay

pixabay best stock photos for web design

Pixabay has over 780,000 free photos, art illustrations, and vectors on their website.

You can use any image with attribution in printed and digital form, even for commercial applications.

The site is crisp and organized. The search bar lets you select specific factors such as color, minimum dimensions, orientation, and media type.

Free? Yes

Best For? Vector graphics, illustrations, videos, ad photos covering a wide range of topics

Visit Website

6. Kaboom Pics

kaboom best stock photos for web design

Kaboom can be your go to for fashion, food, landscapes, abstract, and more.

The creative brains behind this web site is a web designer from Poland, Karolina.

She requests that you include photo credit with a link back to the site when possible.

Free? Yes, they even add a color palette with free graphics for download for every photo

Best For? Extremely wide variety of topics

Visit Website

7. Jay Mantri

jay mantri best stock photos for web design

If you don’t know who designer  and photographer Jay Mantri is, we recommend you look him up.

“free pics. do anything (CCO). make magic”

His site has tons of professional images, that cover a wide range of themes.

The best part, 7 new images are added every Thursday.

Free? Yes

Best For? Scenic images

Visit Website

8. New Old Stock

new old stock best stock photos for web design

Everyone likes a good black and white photo.

When vintage is the look you need, go to New Old Stock.

The images are from the public archive via Flickr Commons, and they are free of any known copyright restrictions.

Free? Yes

Best For? Vintage projects, retro web designs

Visit Website

9. IM Free

im free best stock photos for web design

IM Free is where you can find a collection of photos, plus other web design resources, free for commercial use.

IM Free aims to target web designers and agencies specifically with their free photos.

Free? Yes, for commercial use

Best For? Their nature and landscape collections have almost 3500 images

Visit Website

10. Picjumbo

picjumbo best stock photos for web design

This site is the perfect example of how to use criticism, and turn it into something positive.

Phtographer and designer, Vikto Janacek, started Picjumbo in 2013 as a result of his work being rejected by other stock photo sites.

Now, the site has blossomed into a thorough collection of free photos for personal and commercial use.

New images are added daily.

Free? Yes, but there are premium packages available for bloggers, designers, and agencies

Best For? Wide variety of categories such as architecture, fashion, transportation, and people

Visit Website

11. FoodiesFeed

foodies feed best stock photos for web design

Tired of looking at your cousins shitty food pictures on Instagram?

FoodiesFeed is your answer.

For those of you who write about food, or sell food products, or maybe just love food, FoodiesFeed is a dream come true.

FoodiesFeed has thousands of free, high resolution food images for you to choose from.

Disclosure: The site may induce food cravings.

Free? Yes, but there are premium options to choose from that cost anywhere from $39-$199.

Best For? Food bloggers and food-related websites

Visit Website

12. Little Visuals

little visuals best stock photos for web design

The creator of this site, Nic, has sadly passed away.

His photos tell his story, and were released under the creative commons license public domain dedication.

Free? Yes

Best For? Quality landscape images

Visit Website

13. Life of Pix

life of pix best stock photos for web design

Life of Pix is managed by Leeroy Advertising Agency and its talented photographers.

New photos are added weekly, all under public domain.

If you need videos, check out Life of Pix’s counterpart, Life of Vids.

There you can find free videos, looks, and clips.

Again, there are no copyright restrictions to the content.

Free? Yes

Best For? Nature,  everyday life, landscape

Visit Website

14. Skitterphoto

skitterphoto best stock photos for web design

Skitterphoto is the result of three skilled photographers in Groningen, The Netherlands.

You’ll find a stunning collection of vivid and quality images.

The site has 15 categories ranging from industry to animals to travel, but check out the unique music category.

Free? Yes

Best For? Animals, nature, people

Visit Website

15. MMT Stock

mmt stock best stock photos for web design

MMT Stock is where you can search through collection after collection of high resolution photos, all thanks to Jeffrey Betts.

MMT Stock covers a wide range of topics, from “yellow flowers”, “green leaves”, to ideas such as “getting work done” and “focused.”

Really, MMT Stock features everyday photos that can be used on an extremely wide range of web design projects or mockups.

Free? Yes

Best For? Everyday life, website mockups

Visit Website

16. Stocksnap

stocksnap best stock photos for web design

“Not your typical crappy stock photo site.”

One of the best parts of Stocksnap is their search feature, that makes it simple and easy to browse through thousands of images.

Hundreds, yes hundreds, of quality photos are added daily, and no attribution is required.

Free? Yes

Best For? Objects, nature, wildlife

Visit Website

17. SplitShire

splitshire free stock photos

Ran by Italian photographer, Daniel Nanescu, SplitShire, has plenty of amazing free photos to choose from.

Nanescu claims the photos are “made with love” and this definitely shows.

SplitShire offers unique, high resolution photographs many times feature awesome lighting or grunge textures.

Free? Yes

Best For? Bloggers, everyday life, grunge photos, unique lighting

Visit Website

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